Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa: by the numbers


0 – Pounds Arsenal have spent in the transfer market 2013-2014 and the number on everyone’s lips at kickoff.

Wenger has at his disposal an estimated £70-100m and yet has spent not one single penny on new signings. Probably more infuriating is seeing what £10-15m of that money could have brought in to the club as Mignolet (£10m) and Begovic (£15m price tag) battled it out in the early match — and Arsenal’s Szczesny made two mistakes, one costing a goal and the other nearly costing a goal. Meanwhile, reports are coming back from the Bundesliga that the latest missed target, Gustavo, had a cracking first game for Wolfsburg.

28 – Minute which Gibbs is removed and Sagna switched to left back.

As if to highlight the issue about squad depth, the Gunners finished the match playing with Podolski as cover for Sagna and Ramsey was moved to center back because of Koscielny’s red card. 28 minutes in and Arsenal are already shuffling the defense because the bench was Frimpong, Gnabry, Podolski (used), Cazorla (used), Jenkinson (used), and poor Sanogo.

At the start of the match I tried to put as positive a spin on the bench as possible, tweeting that there was strength there owing to the fact that Podolski and Cazorla were among Arsenal’s top goalscorers (21 goals and 22 assists combined) last season. But the glaring reality is that this is a squad of two depths: a top layer of 18 or so players who have decent Premier League experience and a bottom layer who have almost no experience. For example, Frimpong, Gnabry, and Sanogo have 6 PL starts combined.

You could also see how the lack of cover and depth hurt Arsenal when Ramsey was moved to center half. Villa’s third goal came about because of confusion about who was supposed to remain behind off the corner. In the end, no one did, and Antonio Luna ran out and scored a very nice counter attacking goal. The scenes of  Wilshere remonstrating his teammates after the goal should haunt all Arsenal fans.

39 – Errors Arsenal made last season (in League play) which led to 14 goals. This led all teams and if we removed all errors from League play Arsenal would have won the League last season.

Technically, Arsenal didn’t make any errors that led to goals today but I highlight that stat because it’s one of those definitions that people like to quibble over with the statisticians. When Opta talk about errors they don’t just mean a missed tackle or failing to track a run, they mean something spectacularly terrible, like Sagna’s backpass against United last season.

But they also don’t mean conceding a penalty. Which while it is often thought of as an error is not always an error. Case in point, Koscielny’s tackle today. Even if Koscienly missed that tackle (which he did not) the player wouldn’t be awarded an error because he made a good effort to make a tackle.

19 – Last man tackles made by Mertesacker, Vermaelen, and Koscielny last season

First, the referee got the second penalty call dead wrong: Koscielny won the ball, it’s not a penalty.

But the problem that most people aren’t paying attention to is the fact that he had to make that tackle at all and that this type of last ditch tackle are now the norm for this Arsenal team because Arsenal haven’t had a proper defensive midfielder since Gilberto.

Numerically, Arsenal’s two-most-defensive-minded-midfielders-on-a-not-at-all-defensive-oriented-team did well against Villa. Ramsey was 4/5 in the tackle, Wilshere 2/2, and Rosicky 2/3. While El Ahmadi, Delph, and Agbonlahor combined for 12/17. Moreover, Arsenal actually beat Villa in what are call “ball recoveries” which are where a player wins back the ball when it has gone loose or where the ball has been played directly to him. In fact, Jack and Delph both had 13 ball recoveries each which shows great hustle by both young men.

So, it’s not the hustle but rather the fact that both of Arsenal’s center mids (and “fullbacks”) were pushing high up the pitch in search of the equalizer exposing the back two and forcing them into panic. This happens time and again with Arsenal.

4 – Number of “big chances” Giroud scored in 23 tries last season. 1 – the number he has scored already this season.

As some of you probably read this summer, Giroud was among the most profligate forwards in the League when it came to scoring “big chances” (chances that one would reasonably expect a player to score). So, it was great to see him get off to a roaring start with his very first shot of the season: a well placed ball by Oxlade-Chamberlain.

This stat seems more subjective than others (all sports stats are subjective, a “subject” must watch the game and record events based on an agreed upon definition) but it’s still very useful because it’s attempting to measure those moments like where the fans are watching a game and they see a perfectly played ball, the player one on one with the keeper, and he either scores or misses. Like Rosicky’s miss today. These moments are really what seem to define a player as a “clinical finisher.”

So, for example, Luis Suarez scored 16/30 big chances as defined by Opta. Since he only scored 7 more goals from all his other chances (157) you can see how important both getting in to those positions and finishing those shots are. Since I know you will ask, Suarez was only 7/29 in big chances the season before last where he was widely seen as the most wasteful striker in the League. See, finishing these is bread and butter for a forward. Let’s hope Giroud kicks on from here and becomes the great finisher we all want him to be.


(All numbers via Opta or my personal database)

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Feeling any better? No, me neither.


FOR STUBBORN AW, let us boycott the games!

i can remember yesterday its only the ref and aston villa.

and shit for us!


Today has been horrible. Just horrible. There are no other words…

Arsene's Nose

I just hate football right now.. Thanks Arsene


There is nothing Arsene can do if the transfer fee and wage are not approved by the board. Why do you put all blame on him?


Are you blind, deaf and dumb? Wenger is the one that approves it – that’s the problem!


Been a huge AW admirer but now questions are really popping over his “ambition”. If his (and board’s) ambition is winning trophies, they should be putting together a squad that can play 60 odd matches (38 PL + 15 CL inc. qualifiers + 5 FA + some CoC) with maybe even 3 matches per week (Sun-wed-Sat). The squad that we have at the start of the season is barely enough for 40. What we are doing is cutting corners and “hoping” that injuries are spread out evenly. (The correct word would be gambling). There is no proper cover, instead what… Read more »


Been a huge AW admirer (May even call me AKB) but now questions are really popping over his “ambition”. If his (and board’s) ambition is winning trophies, they should be putting together a squad that can play 60 odd matches (38 PL + 15 CL inc. qualifiers + 5 FA + some CoC) with maybe even 3 matches per week (Sun-wed-Sat). The squad that we have at the start of the season is barely enough for 40. What we are doing is cutting corners and “hoping” that injuries are spread out evenly. (The correct word would be gambling). There is… Read more »

No Hope

Is Wenger still there ? Is he working 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year to buy players. Funny really because Norwich, Swansea and Southampton didn’t have to do that and they signed players. Oh, I know why because once again Wenger is lying – he and Arsenal are doing fucking nothing like they have done all fucking summer and yet there are still Arsenal fans who actually BELIEVE in Wenger, who think he is doing a great job and will deliver – poor deluded idiots…


All of their signings would be deadwood at Arsenal. I’m not vindicating our lack of spending as today is the day that has turned me against he-who-will-not-spend but spending for the sake of spending does nobody any good.


“You got what you wanted, you should be happy. Before the start the season that was all you write in the papers so what do you expect?” According to Twitter, this was what Wenger said to the journalists after the match. I think he’s actually lost the plot this time.


“spending for the sake of spending” – another threadbare apologist straw-man


Just watched the entire match on Sky and barring the fact that we don’t have any fucking cover, the first yellow card for Kos was the game changer. Our boys did actually play well, particularly Rosicky.


the team didnt play well as a team or individually, the ref was utter shit its true, but you can also ask why the fuck kos flew into that challenge when already on a card

an ill disciplined rabble at times and its pretty inexcusable


I for one can not blame any of the players! Only Arsene Wenger is to blame for this mess! To go into the season with such a small squad was only asking for trouble.

Arsene states that he is working hard to find players and that he is not the only one who is working on player transfers! Well he and whoever else is working on the transfers should be sacked immediately for incompetence.
Enough is enough Arsene has turned our GREAT CLUB into a laughing stock.


wat a load of nonsense. there were many time periods where we were absolutely on top. played some nice one-twos, some nice runs even when we were 10 men. rosicky was a beast. chambo was a constant threat while he was on. giroud chased back a ball into his own half past his goalkeeper and was a constant threat throughout. wilshere and cazorla lost possession a few times but they did give it their all. both are nowhere near match fit. ramsey played his heart out as usual. sagna was immense as was koscielny. who btw did not dive anywhere… Read more »


I want to wake up to 5 signings tomorrow


Diaby in a revolving door?

David Brentan Rodgers

No. Revolving means he gets back in.


Horrible start to the season. I still can’t understand why getting in players is such an impossible task for Wenger. Beats me hollow that others are buying and he still can’t find quality anywhere in the world.


As an excuse for his insipidness, Wenger always mentions United as also struggling to find players this transfer window, forgetting completely that United have a title-winning squad. They don’t need players. We do.

Feel sorry for our players.


It beggars belief that it has been allowed to get into this state. Today was the stuff of nightmares, when I predicted 2-2 I thought I was being all doom and gloom. Who knew?? Sadly deep down I think we were all expecting that and Wednesday could well be pretty damn painful too.


Guys lost for words…just watch this video…just epitomizes everything that is wrong with the club-

Rad Carrot

Exactly how I feel. Good on that man.

Gustavo Almadover

That was brilliant…


I think you meant to say “we missed Arteta”.


Wenger says buy who? Well Higuain, Fellaini (till 31st August), Cesar, Ashley Williams combined all of them wouldve cost less than 70 million and would’ve have improved us greatly. Honestly what are they smoking at the Emirates?


We’re a rudderless ship, drifting from one fuck up to the next.

If Ivan didn’t answer to his underling in the company he would be demanding answers. Or at least he should be

Rad Carrot

I’ve managed to laugh it off – nothing else I can do, really. All last season I’d be raging after each pathetic, insipid result, but this time I feel the players really weren’t to blame – the ref and the manager conspired to make today the disaster it was. Only thing I hope is that Wenger has the sleepless nights he put us through. I hope he goes home and has to drink two bottles of whiskey just to try and sleep. I hope his hands get sweaty and his gut cramps at the thought of the failure that is… Read more »


We’d need to lose our next game by 10-0 so maybe Wenger would consider signing Angels to play for us.



i feel very confused about what is going on and why when we sent coquelain away i thought ok, its been decided he is not good enough to play for us and a replacement is in the pipeline but there is currently no replacement, so why not delay sending him away until there is? what on earth is going on? if you are climbing up a ladder or a cliff, you make sure that your grip is secure with one hand before you release the other and the 2 defenders we have let go because they aren’t good enough, ok,… Read more »


AW is quite simply guilty of a phenominal error of judgement which is going to cost us very dearly because he has no time to sort it before the CL qualifier and the season is already of to a shocking start. No one should be under any illusions that last year was not a poor season it was only in the last 10 games we actualy salvaged something. Otherthan that it was a shocker and it could very well be worse this year.


Booze please!!!


12- The number of pints of strong ale it will take to alleviate the general sense of despondency you feel after watching the match.


Since there are no players that can improve our team, we are better of not signing anyone. Arsenal already has the best players in each position in the world apparently. Brilliant.


It’s tragic, isn’t it! We look like we might end up being the first team to appeal to the Premier League on metaphysical grounds and try to field players that don’t even exist. Any player would surely be better than none, because given the way that they’re getting injured, we may have to start playing ghosts!


I was surprised to see Poldi not being chosen to play on the left after AOL went off. Instead Cazorla came on and you could see how knackered he must have been cause he did so many mistakes. But what about Poldi? Not fully fit?


You’d think he would have come on as an attacker at some point, were it not for the sending off, no?


You’d think Poldi would have come on as an attacker at some point, were it not for the sending off and everything going tits-up, no? Things didn’t just go badly, that was a perfect storm. Shite ref, injuries all over… I’m not excusing Wenger or some of the players, they still should have been able to deal with it, but some days the Gods are just against you.

Everyone just has to get behind the team we have on Wednesday. It’s going to be some real backs-to-the-wall shit, at least until Bould comes on.


This defeat was signposted the minute Wenger made the comments about challenging this season. There is an amazing amount of passion for this club, you can see it in the ground, in any conversation or the comments section of any Arsenal related article online, why does it seem that the club wants to polarise that support rather than homogonise it? All it ever takes is a couple of signings to have supporters singing from the same hymn sheet, look at how Cardiff fans have calmed down, yet we seem to be actively pursuing supporter hegeomony each year. Fuck.


ps Fuck


The team have been on the decline for a while now. Selling your best players every year and replacing them with average ones can only get you so far. We are already out of the title race I believe and probably looking at 4th at best now. I know it was one game, but it was home, to Villa.

The squad is thin and the manager seems clueless as to how to proceed.

This should have been dealt with years ago.


Jesus, grab your coat. It’s only one fucking game, any problems we have can be addressed, at least there is actually time for that. Whether or not it happens is another thing.


Any problems we had today could have been addressed in the transfer window. Going into a season with 5 fit defenders and no backup DM is suicide.

Secondly, it can’t be addressed before Fenerbache.

Thirdly, why wait until we have our backs to the wall to address problems. More panic buyings like 2 seasons ago which resulted in Park, Santos and Gervinho.

Take off your blinders mate, no other professional team in the world I know of would have 150M in the bank and not strengthen their team which has not won a trophy for 8 years.


Too right. I think we’re going to have to face the real possibility that we won’t be involved in the Champions League group stages this year, and it is all Wenger’s fault.

We go to Turkey with a very weak squad indeed. I’m really curious who will play in defense. Szczesny didn’t look too bad at CB today. And maybe Hector Bellerin and Zelalem are ready for Champions League football after all!


I merely meant that saying our season is over after one game – as the original post claimed – was fucking ludicrous. I wasn’t saying everything is rosy or that addressing the problems we have now is anything other than stupidity, everyone can see our problems, i was just pointing out that the world hasn’t fucking ended and it’s only one fucking game ‘mate’. Jesus H Christ, i’m beginning to believe my friends, Arsenal fans are the touchiest, most moaning cunts out there, nearly as bad as Liverpool fans.


I only disagree with you on one point-I don’t think Wenger’s clueless, I think he has a very definite idea of how he wants to proceed, it’s just that his idea isn’t based in reality, nor is it shared by anyone else. I don’t think we just have to worry about signing players, I think we have to worry about a man who seems determined to continue onwards down this absolutely crackers path and seems to have no accountability whatsoever to reign him in!


Remarkably, 95% of the comments thus far have nothing to do with the points brought up in the article. Pretty insightful stuff and whilst I completely agree that the no signings thing is totally frustrating, I believe it is important that we try not to lose perspective and manners.
I have a sneaking suspicion that Giroud will have a very strong season after that fantastic pre-season.
Every cloud….


Well not looking forward to Wednesday same old same old I would like to think things can’t get any worse but it will be like Gallipoli brave troops led by complete idiots where the Turks well and truly kick our arses. Dear oh dear Mr Wenger what has happened to our team, we need reinforcements now


It’s a part and parcel of the game.You can’t win every game.Main thing here is concern over players injurie. As per Wenger’s press conference Sagna,Vermaelen,Gibbs,Monreal,Arteta,Ramsey,Ox,Diaby and Ryo are injured.This year total team squad is 22.In that nine players are injured after 1st match and one is red carded. So we have only 12 senior players fit after 1st match………………………


Ever since David Dein left in 2007, it has been down hill for AFC. It is time to crown him as the person who revolutionized Arsenal.

Gooner Al

Difficult to disagree with this.


Remeber the story when he drew 3 arrows on left hand side on a blackboard at half time for Tony Adams & co ?

Time turned around now He needs a blackboard filled with :depth depth depth depth etc

mr man

what a load of old shit


Ha ha you lot are crap


The loans are the worst part. Without them we could field this team next weekend: Fabianski Jenkinson-Djourou-Mertesacker-Miquel Coquelin-Wilshere-Cazorla Podolski-Giroud-Walcott That is a team capable of beating Fulham. It’s also one capable of beating Fenerbahce (especially with Koscielny in place of Djourou). As it currently stands we have 9 available senior players for next week and 2 of them are goalkeepers. I always blamed the board and people other than Arsene for the issues at the club but these loans show the problems stem from him. They are football decisions that the board and Gazidis would have had very little input… Read more »

gooner odst

In one of my early FIFA/Pro evo games, sometimes the AI played the reserve goalie at CB during a campaign. Laughed my head off facing a Real Madrid with Casillas starting at CB, Dudek in goal… in a champions league semi-final no less.

Its not quite as funny now though.


Here is the definition of foolish: Getting rid of a dozen squad members, and then not replacing any of them. I get that Djourou and Miquel aren’t up to scratch, for instance, but who will play CB with Mertesacker against Fulham? Zach Fagan? Wouldn’t Djourou have been a better option? Why didn’t we buy a CB before we got rid of Djourou and Miquel?


Heck I do think we play well most of the time even when we’re not winning but for me its become too predictable. dont know why our so called attacking midfielders never get on the end of those loose balls in the box, if Giroud is there then its all okay, we’ll stay out of his way and let him score all the goals, jack wilshere for all his hype is so dissapointing at times, loses possesion more than any other player,.runs himself into 3 men ends up losing the battle, never shoots, nothing. I just think our midfielders need… Read more »


I’m sure Steve Bould will play CB on wed and AW will play LB. I think Wenger together with his employers are FOOLS, my opinion.


Starting lineup vs Fenerbache:





Where do we get the ??????’s from? And for the match vs Fulham, just add another one!

Glen Helders soul-glo

Koscielny & Cazorla are suspended


Ah, good. So:

Fabianski (Szczesny doesn’t deserve to start)

Jenkinson – Fagan – Mertesacker – Uade

Zelalem – Hayden – Wilshere

Walcott – Giroud – Podolski

There will be no Champions League football for Arsenal this season. I’d bet my house.

Alex Manninger

Can we shake? Im homeless right now, oh wait- that’s not gonna change

Nasri's gold-plated nipples

I am in no way a supporter of the #Wengerout “fans” however as of recent the quote ” You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain” from the Dark Knight Rises springs to mind…


The only person i would mention is Sagna!!He could die for the club in fuckin stoppage time with two goals behind!!!


well- that wasnt good was it. Where does Wenger really go wrong- its being a miserly purist that always thinks he knows better. For all the bs about not being able to buy players – arse I say. City got their business done fast and efficiently. Chelsea are half way there and bought very well last season so dont need major surgery, United won the league at a canter so dont need to panic and the yids have done 60m on improving their squad, so Wenger- you are talking shite my man. I AM an AKB but now believe he… Read more »


Could be a blessing in disguise. If Arsene thought the squad we have can seriously challenge for the title well he has just received a powerful reality check. I don’t think he will panic. However he knows now the squad needs serious strengthening. Cheap bargain buys are out he needs top top quality and two will not be enough. The squad is strong enough to get a draw at least in Turkey but 15 huge days for the club. Staying calm and getting on with the next game is the call now.


Incredible that you still believe in Wenger, that you believe he’s a rational person. “He knows now,” you say, “the squad needs serious strengthening.” Please. This was as obvious three months ago as it is today. There’s one solution: Wenger out.

Cork Gunner

As an Irish Leaving Cert (A/O level) student Thomas Hardy’s “The Mayor of Casterbridge” was bet (beaten) into us. Anyway, the key theme in the novel ( you always had to know the key theme if you wanted to pass Leaving Cert English) was “character is fate”. Basically, it means that while most people point to unfortunate external factors for their mishaps, they (the mishaps) are usually due to their own peculiar failings which they repeat again and again and again. While a lot of the stuff ” bet” (beaten) into us during the Leaving hasn’t stayed with me that… Read more »

loose cannon

one Question: why does AW make it difficult for players and fans? by signing one WC player he has the opportunity to make the players, fans and the media happy. this loss is hard to take but it shows how if opposition team play physically we can’t cope. what are we gonna do against stoke, sunderland and other ‘park the bus’ teams.


That’s a nice 500 words or so….but basically what you’re saying is “Wenger is a c**t”…


So to be like serious here Wenger looks at szczesney and thinks “ah theres the best in world?”. The ablohgnabor penalty summed up the pressing need for DM , a guy to keep guys like ablohgnabor in check and how many have we let pass?

capoue?, gustavo?, wanyama?

“when we find right players, really Arsene? come up with something better.

Nando's Chicken

There needs to be an FA arbitration process where clubs can submit video evidence to complain about referee decisions. Repeated and blatant errors on the part of a single ref would equal suspension, etc. We can’t keep talking about shit decisions every year. The issue must be fixed!

Mate Kiddleton

I have never seen so many injured players in one game. Did I actually see Podolski at left back for a while?

Alex Manninger

Did you manage to see him at all? I didn’t!


I’m a villa fan and I’ll tell you who’s to lame for your loss today (beside an excellent villa performance which deserved the win despite what you think) , the blame in my opinion is mostly on you as arsenal fans and the press. Both of you undermined the current squad by over expressing the need for a new signing, that along with a hair thin squad is what created the perfect environment for a villa win P.S. stop bitching about the ref so much, yes he was useless and it was never a pen but szczesny should’ve never stayed… Read more »

East Gooner

I’m not going to dwell on the shitestorm of yesterday since many above have already summed it up. But on the bright side I though Chambo, Wilshere and Giroud were all very good. The Ox had less than 5 assists last season and Giroud missed a bucket of chances but they combined well for the goal. That aside 70 – Amount of Millions Wenger has to Spend 0 – The Amount he Spent 11 – Best in the world for their positon Players we have according to Wenger 4 – The letters required to describe the ref – CUNT 0… Read more »


We all like to think that our club is this paragon of virtue when it comes to how to run a football club. What an absolute joke that turned out to be. Yes we may run at a profit year after year. But we are no longer a football club for the fans or indeed do we have any of the fans interests at heart. We are a business pure and simple and are run as such. Profit and more profit and the supporters have been taken totally for a ride. And what’s worse is arsene is complicit in this… Read more »

Alex Manninger

We’ve spent more on ink to sign contracts four our signings this summer than we have buying them.


Is it Stupid Stan who has asked Arsene to not spend? Because Arsene surely can’t be that stupid? And if he is then it is time tha fans started showing what they think. Unfortunately the boys did all they could. At this rate I see some more of our better players leaving next season. Cazorla and Jack will make the first eleven of many top teams.

[…] Report – By the numbers – Player ratings – […]

Dial square

Welcome home Volds, well said, the reason it’s so hard to take is, we always thought Wenger loved the club as much as us, but why would he? It’s just a tool to earn him money as he goes through life, where as we choose to go because something inside us makes a connection, and you feel ‘at one’ with the club, and it fucking hurts inside to see someone mistreating it.
Not sure if I made sense or not, or even got my point across, still pissed from last night, drinking myself into a stupor, trying to forget…..